It’s late December and the New Year is just around the corner. For me, this is always the time to sum things up, to look back and see where I’ve been and what I’ve achieved in the past year. And honestly, I don’t feel like looking back at this horrible, horrible year at all. It’s been tough for all of us even if the pandemic was the only problem – and it most likely wasn’t.
But hey, let’s not be so negative. After all, every cloud has a silver lining. Even in this difficult year, we still had some things to be happy about. And for me, among other things, these things have been the stories that made me smile, articles I enjoyed writing, and some fun projects I did. So, I bring you my selection of the top ten DIYP stories that made 2020 more bearable and more fun. And just to make things extra positive, I’ll drop in a few honorable mentions, too!
I’m not really a fan of gyms. I start going all filled with enthusiasm, and after a while, I just give it up because it’s too crowded. But then I start exercising at home, that’s what I actually enjoy. So, when the pandemic hit, I had a good excuse for not going to the gym. Speaking of silver lining.
However, there are people who actually like going to the gym. And for them, the pandemic took away an important part of their routine. So, Gerald Undone teamed up with a bunch of other creatives to bring you a hilarious, but weirdly useful guide for exercising at home… with your photography gear.
One of the things I like most about working at DIYP is that I get in touch with lots of creative, fun, and smart people. Canadian photographer Barbara Cole is one of them. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed our phone interview and how much I love these painterly underwater photos that she creates. Ever since I discovered her work, I often browse through her Instagram and enjoy these photos that always manage to soothe my soul.
The pandemic has changed the daily lives and future plans for all of us. During that first round of lockdowns, we were all extremely confused, worried, or even depressed. I sure know I wasn’t feeling especially creative to take photos during this period – so I wrote an article about it. I always enjoy writing articles based on my own ideas, experiences, and emotions. I enjoy it even more if my thoughts and suggestions can help someone, and this is precisely what I tried to do with this piece. Since we’re in round two of lockdowns in many countries, I believe it’s the right time to remind you: it’s okay if you’re not feeling creative right now. Take your time.
In the rare moments when I felt creative enough to take photos, I was usually inspired by someone else’s work and techniques. In this case, Jason D. Page and Tim Gamble inspired me greatly! I saw their unique images made with the help of aluminum foil and some sculpting, and I wanted to try it out. First of all, I had the most awesome Saturday night playing with lights and foil around the house (I’m lame, I know). And second of all, it was a true pleasure being in touch with these two great guys and working together to write this article. It’s a simple technique, yet you can get a ton of different results, so this is definitely something to try when you feel like taking photos and experimenting.
I can’t tell you how much I love cats and dogs. So naturally, when I discovered Elke Vogelsang‘s portraits of dogs, I was absolutely thrilled. The German photographer is an owner of three wonderful dogs, whose photos you’ll often see on her Instagram. But she has photographed many more dogs and cats, capturing the cutest, silliest, goofiest expressions you can imagine! Whenever I feel down, I look back at this article or Elke’s work on Instagram, and her photos never fail to make me smile.
Speaking of goofy, silly, and cute, The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards published its finalists in September. Is it just me, or this contest gets better and better every year? I rarely laugh out loud when I see any kind of online content, but some of these photos made me crack up and laugh like a lunatic. That vomiting penguin is one of the most hilarious wildlife photos I’ve ever seen. Although, the winning photo of a turtle flipping a bird describes my overall mood in 2020 more accurately.
Other than the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, the comet Neowise was one of the main astronomical events this year. And just like probably every photographer ever, I wanted to capture it too. After juggling with the pandemic, my depression, and my mother’s surgery in the midst of the collapsed healthcare system, this was a welcome getaway.
My mom got better, I started taking meds, and I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. That light was the comet Neowise and my crazy adventure of trying to photograph it. I failed so many times that it gave me a chance to learn some important lessons. And after many failed attempts, I did manage to shoot it in the end. Maybe that holds some symbolism as well.
THIS CAMERA TRAVELED OVER 10,000 MILES TO TELL THE STORY OF TRUST AND SOLIDARITY BETWEEN 27 PHOTOGRAPHERS
Iranian photographer Alireza Rostami always comes up with creative ideas and DIY projects. But Send the Camera must be my favorite project of his. It’s actually one of my favorite projects ever! This project tells a story about solidarity and trust. But I think it also shows how different we all are in our approach to photography, yet we can collaborate in spite of that. Send the Camera is an incredibly wholesome project, and I greatly enjoyed writing about it.
Synesthesia is a phenomenon that fascinates me, and photographer Dasha Pears managed to turn hers into a set of photos. And man, how awesome those photos are! Dasha sees letters in colors, so he took her gift and turned it into creative, colorful, stunning works of art. This is another of my favorite projects from this year, and I often get back to these photos since I published the article.
In 2020, we all needed some humor to help us get through this sh*tty year. And Hong Kong-based photographer Edas Wong sure has a lot of humor in his work! His collection of THESE 22 “STREET PHOTOGRAPHY” PICTURES ARE JUST WHAT YOU NEED IF YOU ARE IN LOCKDOWN made me giggle and had me keep a huge smile on my face for hours.
As I said in the intro, there are more than ten stories from this year that I liked. Some of them didn’t make it to the main list, but they still deserve to be mentioned.
The first story I’d like to mention isn’t strictly photography-related. But if you shoot videos, you know that sound is one of the main ingredients of your work. And the sound of birds on a 50-meter long high-tensile fence wire is truly something else. It’s like something from a Sci-Fi movie or from a dream. And what also amuses me here is that I have a tattoo of a bird on a wire. So if it had a sound, it would probably sound like this. :)
Speaking of birds, owls are among my favorite ones. When I was little, they would often sit in a tree in front of my house, and my grandpa and I would watch them together. If I had a chance to hang out with an owl, I would probably be ecstatic! But it’s not possible… Or is it? Judging from an encounter photographers Scott Joshua Dere and Beaumon Day had, it is possible after all. A beautiful owl landed on Scott’s head, and then moved onto his lens, staying there for just enough time to pose for a fantastic photo. And just looking at that photo and writing about it made me ecstatic… And I admit, it made me dream again that I’ll have a chance to hang out with an owl once.
Moving on from birds to dogs. Another story I found really cute is this doggy selfie booth. Now those are some selfies I’d actually love to see in my social media feed!
We’re staying in the animal kingdom for now. I know it’s not nice to laugh at someone else’s misfortune, but I couldn’t help laughing when I saw a goat head-butting a cameraman in the nuts. I’ve always loved goats, and I think I love them even more now: if someone annoys them, they’re gonna clearly express it. I quite admire that.
And for the final story, I chose one about plants. More precisely, it’s about onions. Sexy onions. “What’s so sexy about onions,” you may wonder. Well, I honestly don’t know, but it looks like the Facebook algorithm knows something we don’t. And it sure is funny as hell!
Okay, now when I look back at 2020, maybe it wasn’t that terrible after all. I’ve had a lot of fun being in touch with great artists and writing about their work. I had some good laughs thanks to hilarious photos, videos, and stories. I made mistakes, but I learned from them, and even they even inspired me to write something. Still, I hope that 2021 will be better: healthier, funnier, and more creative. In spite of everything, I’m looking forward to it and to the new stories we’ll share!